Stephen Strasburg And Aroldis Chapman Make Pro Debuts, Many Strikeouts Follow

While there was a full slate of MLB games on Sunday, the baseball world was focused on Altoona, PA, and Toledo, OH, for that is where much-hyped pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Aroldis Chapman made their pro baseball debuts, respectively.

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Strasburg, whom the Nationals selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 MLB draft, took to the mound for the Harrisburg Senators (AA) against the Altoona Curve with standing-room only at the Blair Count Ballpark.

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... Strasburg fired his first pitch at 99 mph -- though one radar gun read 100 mph -- threw comfortably in the 97-99-mph range all game, froze hitters with nasty breaking balls -- including twice to get out of a tough jam in the fourth -- and even worked in a changeup on the outside corner.

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His final line: 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K.

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Meanwhile, Cincinnati's Chapman delivered an arguably even more impressive outing Sunday. From our Reds blog, Red Reporter:

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Chapman was everything you've heard:  Fastball topped out at 101, slider was nasty, control wasn't pinpoint, doesn't look like he's throwing that hard.

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Fastball - 97+ all day long.  It seemed, though, that he had much better command at the lower end of that range.  Most impressive was the strikeout on pitches of 79/81/100 mph - the hitter never had a chance on any of the three.

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Slider - 88-91, usually for a strike.  Made many grown men look like little girls.

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In the end, Chapman allowed only one unearned run and struck out nine in just 4 2/3 innings of work.

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So that's 17 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings of combined pro debuts for Strasburg and Chapman on Sunday -- and two wins. And while fans of the Nationals and Reds will cry and scream that these pitchers need to be in the majors yesterday, they'll be forced to wait until May or June, because in the end, money talks.

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